A third cyclist has died after a drunk driver rammed into a pack of riders on Sunday morning near the town of Oliva, on Spain’s Mediterranean coast. José Antonio Albi, 28, had been at La Fe hospital in Valencia serious condition since then. Two other cyclists were killed on the spot, and two more are injured.
The Civil Guard arrested the driver at the site of the crash, along a stretch of road between the Mediterranean holiday towns of Denia and Oliva, in Valencia.The accident happened at 8.30am on the N-332 coastal road, when the 28-year-old female driver, who has not been named, plowed into a group of six cyclists, members of a club in nearby Xàbia who went out on trips together each Sunday.
The two dead men were from Xàbia, where three days of mourning have been declared by the mayor
The two other men killed in the accident have been named as Eduardo Monfort Gasent, 28, and Luis Alberto Contreras, 50, both from Jávea. The injured are Andrés Contreras and Scott Gordon, who remain in serious condition.
Speaking to Spanish national radio, Jaime Escortell, who was slightly injured after he managed to avoid the car by throwing himself onto the hard shoulder, said: “We didn’t have time to say anything, we saw the car coming across the road diagonally and it swept us away. The car was going very fast, it didn’t brake at all.”
The driver of the vehicle tested positive for alcohol and drugs. It has since emerged that she had a previous record for drunk driving and drug trafficking, and had had her driving license withdrawn in 2013.
“We are left with a feeling of deep pain and impotence: this morning, a group of residents from Jávea went out to enjoy some sport and two of them have left their lives on the road and three more are injured. This is a terrible and absurd accident that has left us in a state of shock,” said the mayor of Jávea, José Chulvi, at a special meeting of the town council on Sunday afternoon.
Somebody behind the wheel who is drunk or on drugs is a deadly weapon Central government representative Juan Carlos Morague
“Today is not the day, but this terrible event forces us to think and to demand that the necessary measures are taken to increase the safety of cyclists on the road,” added Chulvi.
The club the cyclists belonged to posted a message on its Facebook page: “We hope the full force of the law falls on the driver that caused this accident and tragedy.”
Juan Carlos Moragues, the central government’s representative in the Valencia region, issued a statement calling for greater awareness of the problem of drunk driving: “We have to be conscious that somebody behind the wheel who is under the influence of alcohol and drugs is a deadly weapon.”
English version by Nick Lyne.